IF Comp is upon us! The games will be available tomorrow, and authors and Comp organizers have been hard at work putting things together. I encourage folks to judge, review, comment and discuss. As previously announced, I will not be doing full comp coverage on this blog this year, but I look forward to seeing the new crop.
October 1, which is to say, tomorrow, the SF Bay IF Meetup is playing through some of the newly released Comp games.
October 10 in Oxford I’ll be talking at the Oxford AI meetup about AI and narrative.
October 11 in London, Holly Gramazio is talking about public play and playful installations in physical space: not an IF topic per se, but probably of adjacent interest, and I always enjoy Holly’s talks a lot.
October 16 the Oxford/London IF Meetup is getting together to play a bunch of newly released IF Comp games. I have a couple of volunteer readers, but could use more, and/or snack-bringers, so if you would like to come and do one of those things, please let me know. And of course if you do not want to bring anything except yourself, that is also welcome.
October 21 is PROCJAM Talks Day, a day of talks about procedural generation (of text and of other things). I will be speaking, as will many cool folks. The Talks Day takes place in Falmouth, but the sessions will be streamed, so you can catch them even if you’re not there in person.
October 22 is the deadline for the yearly Saugus.net Halloween story competition, which includes an interactive fiction section.
October 28, I’ll be speaking in Vienna at Subotron arcademy.
The weekend of November 19/20 is a double treat for IF and word game enthusiasts in London: the 19th is the one-day WordPlay event held at the British Library, and the 20th will see IF-related content featured at AdventureX.
Sadly, the Windhammer Prize for short gamebook fiction isn’t happening this year, due to an insufficient number of entries. This is a real pity — I was looking forward to checking out the contestants.
Finally, if you had a game you wanted to submit to IF Comp and you missed the deadline, you could register it for Spring Thing 2017 instead.
Here’s a nice piece on the text interface for Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n, and the design considerations that went into telling a story through several streams of chat interaction at once.
Bruno Dias presented to Roguelike Celebration about his procedural text for Voyageur; his presentation is available online. Among other things, it includes some pretty sweet diagrams of how Tracery and Annals of the Parrigues work, before describing what goes into Bruno’s own work.
Meanwhile, here is a Matheson Marcault post on historic forms of procedural text generation — things done with cut-ups and mechanical wheels and other methods that predate the computer. And here is Katie Rose Pipkin, talking about yet other examples. (Both links brought to my attention courtesy of @v21.)
Wheels of Aurelia is now available on Steam: a combination driving and narrative conversation game, with some beautiful 1970s-look art.
Sub-Q brings us The Fire Tree of Si from Aaron Emmel: the story of a tree that is able to destroy objects and then the memories associated with those objects. It took me several play-throughs of the game to fully understand the premise, because not all the paths fill in all the possible backstory here.
Clickhole keeps writing clickbaity CYOA stories, such as this one in which you are a cannibal lobster-man running for governor of Maine.
Failbetter has announced its next project: Sunless Skies; you can also watch for the Zubmariner DLC release for Sunless Sea October 11. It extends the XYZZY-winning setting of Sunless by another 11 ports, plus lots of other alarming things.
Astronaut: The Best is a narrative game with procedural elements that describes itself thus:
It’s like Princess Maker or Long Live The Queen, if you were raising a whole bunch of princesses, any one of which might turn out to be a hideous reptile at any time, but even if that were the case, there could totally be a silver lining to that cloud
Or, if you’re more in the mood for word games for tabletop purposes, you might like Rewordable.
Strange Horizons publishes science fiction and fantasy online. They’re currently fundraising with a stretch goal that would mean a partnership with Sub-Q magazine, so they’d be publishing IF as well. This would be very cool to see.
Criticism and Reviews
My most recent IF Only piece introduces the works of Ryan Veeder.